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Safe Standing – Best practice report from Munich’s Allianz Arena
Following a series of fatal stadium disasters in the 1980s, standing accomodation was identified to be a contributing factor to safety problems and subsequently banned from English football stadiums. All Premier League stadiums today are all-seater stadiums. Recently though, several initiatives promoting safe standing have emerged, calling for the reintroduction of safe standing terraces in top-flight football stadiums in England.
This article illustrates how modern safe standing accommodation was implemented at FC Bayern’s Allianz Arena in Munich. It is aimed at people in the stadium industry, in stadium management, and at the interested general public. Feel free to contact us: With pleasure, we offer support and first-hand experience on any safe standing related matters.
Best practice report from Munich’s Allianz Arena
As Munich-based stadium consultants, Companeer succesfully managed the introduction of standing terraces in the Allianz Arena, which opened as an all-seater stadium prior to the 2006 World Cup. On this website, we illustrate the various challenges we had to tackle and highlight the measures undertaken to ensure a safe and exciting experience for all supporters coming to the Allianz Arena. We wish to demonstrate how modern technology and thoughtfully planned structural measures ensures that safe standing is indeed safe and beneficial not only to supporters but clubs alike.
Safe standing - Benefits on matchday revenue
The demand for safe standing in British stadiums not only stems from spectators. Also clubs can benefit financially from the reintroduction of terraces.
Safe standing offers an opportunity for clubs to increase matchday revenue in three different ways:
Higher capacity. Two standing supporters occupy the same space as one seated fan. Even though tickets for a standing terrace are usually lower priced than seats, total gate revenue increases as long as the (positive) volume effect over-compensates the (negative) price effect.
Multiplier effects. A higher number of supporters in the ground implies higher earnings from merchandising and catering. Larger crowds also promote a club's attractivness for corporate partners and sponsors due to a higher number of customer touchpoints.
Crossover effects. The exciting atmosphere created by supporters on a terrace contributes positively to the matchday experience shared by everybody inside the stadium and the image of the club in general. This is known to raise the willingness to pay for the more exclusive seats and also creates additional value for corporate partners and sponsors.
- Reconfiguration. When total stadium capacity is limited due to restrictions like road traffic or noise level, the transformation of seater stands into standing terraces still offers an opportunity to increase the number of lucrative executive and business seats due to freed up space. Furthermore, standing terraces can compensate a loss of seats due to other measures of renovation, e.g. an extension of VIP areas.
A seated spectator occupies more space than a standing spectator at a ratio of roughly 2:1. In principle, this means that a stand's capacity could be doubled by simply removing the seats. However, extensive investigations and the resulting structural measures need to be undertaken to deal with the increased capacity in a safe way:
Statics. Twice as many supporters do not only weigh twice as much, they also behave differently when standing. For example, fans might jump up and down simultaneously when singing their chants or during goal celebrations. Therefore, a stand's statics must be re-calculated and eventually toughened up when it is turned into a standing terrace.
Escape routes. In case of an emergency, twice as many supporters need to be evacuated from a ground as quickly and safely as before. This implies that gangways and vomitories need to be wide enough and escape routes must be well organized. Image: New escape stairways at Allianz Arena under construction. The architects of the original design, Herzog De Meuron, were involved into the planning to prevent any issues on intellectual property violations.
Overcrowding. Terraces should allow for reasonably free moving space. However, since supporters tend to concentrate at favourable spots (e.g. behind the goal), a standing terrace needs to be subdivided into sectors in order to prevent that any area becomes overcrowded. Image: Modern time-dependent turnstyle systems can guarantee safety and spectator comfort as at Allianz Arena's "Südkurve" block entry. Die-hard supporters were sceptical in the beginning. However, they soon accepted this as a necessary safety feature for the increased standing capacity.
Sightlines. The so-called C-value measures the vertical distance between the eye points of two spectators sitting or standing behind each other. The greater the C-Value the better the sightline quality for spectators. Sightlines on stands previously designed to accommodate seated supporters can deteriorate beyond acceptable levels in case that stand is transformed into a terrace. This is not only an issue of comfort, but also safety since bad sightlines could trigger spectator unrest.
Facilities. A higher number of supporters requires a larger number of facilities, such as rest rooms and kiosks. Also, logistics need to be improved, e.g. by payment cards.
Fold away seats. Participation in European cup competitions require an all-seater stadium. Fold away seats offer the most efficient way of turning a standing terraces back into a temporary seated stand. Spectators also strictly prefer the free moving space offered by fold away seats over rail seats. Image: Allianz Arena in its international configuration. The seats fold away to the ground very quickly. In standing configuration, the covers of the fold-away seats serve as an additional row in between. This leads to the ratio of 2:1.
Noise protection. An increased capacity implies a higher level of roar inside the stadium and, unfortunately, also a higher level of unwanted noise outside of it. Reasonable noise protection measures need to be discussed with stakeholders to boost acceptance of safe standing from the public.
- Road traffic and public transportation. The larger number of supporters visiting the stadium obviously increases traffic outside of the stadium. Transportation routes need to be reorganized and optimized in order to prevent a traffic collapse. Image: Spectators leaving Allianz Arena by underground. The picture was taken during a regular public transportation survey by Companeer.
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